You may be reading this article thinking, “I’m fine, I’m happy doing a 9-5 job, it pays my bills and it’s a job I can switch off from”. I totally get that. It feels comfortable, it feels safe, non-risky. But is it really safe or is it just an addiction to a belief that it’s safe? What do you get when you invest your time, soul and energy in someone else’s business? Can they really protect you against adversity, are there any guarantees? Covid has proven, that for many, job security is not a thing anymore. I know, I’ve been a casualty. Even the big brands and companies have suffered and have laid off thousands of jobs.
But even if your company’s business has proved itself immune to the Covid lockdowns and is actually thriving, working a 9-5 (or being in a salaried job) can still seem like you’re harnessing yourself to someone else’s yoke. It can feel like a life sentence – just a means to an end. You feel like you’re strapped into a strait jacket of joyless routine, drudge and monotony. The only excitement is in the form of what Netflix show you watch tonight, which holiday you can plan for (when Covid lifts), what new sofa or wall paint you can save up for.
And if you’re anything like me, that may not be enough. Your heart is no longer in it, you feel a calling for something more. If that’s you, then you’ve been called for a reason. And that reason has to do with dreams, inner yearnings and promptings (a nudge from God/the Universe if you like) and a desire to make an impact, both in your own life and the lives of others.
Whether you know what your calling is or you don’t, you just know something has to change and you’re ready for it – as scary as that may be! And in some cases, including my own, this realisation has dawned because of a redundancy. Covid has just been the trigger to learn to let go even more. I did my first leap out of the frying pan and into the fire of entrepreneurship in 2010 by establishing a a bricks and mortar business – a continental-style coffee shop. I ran it for 5 years, but during that time I didn’t learn the rules of the game: unless you can leverage your time by creating a system that prints money, then you’ll find yourself exhausted, broke and at worst, in debt and perhaps without a home. But in the technology revolution age, where social media and information sharing platforms have opened up new opportunities for selling online, that doesn’t have to be the case. There’s far less to invest (therefore less risk) and far more to gain, than running a bricks and mortar business (although I’m not discouraging you from that either, it just has to be done with the right investment in systems and location).
End of the Road Awakening
If you’re convinced more than ever that a corporate job is the end of the road for you: end of your dreams, end of the promise of a better life, end of inspiration, end of self-determination and freedom to truly express yourself and your unique personality and gifts, then it’s time to use your get out of jail card. If you’re fed up trying to fit into a corporate hierarchy and a regimented structure of working, that’s not especially liberating or progressive for you as an individual and is not firing you up on all cylinders, then I’d advise to seriously consider pulling the cord.
An “awakening” can also occur after trauma, illness or losing someone. You wake up to the fact that God has a bigger plan for you. Life simply has to have more meaning.
And just remember it’s never too late. The corporate world wants to shut doors on you when you fall out of work later in life. They prefer to mould women and indoctrinate them from a young age into their culture and values. So whilst ageism is an illegal discriminatory practice, I’m afraid that it still happens. For women in particular that doesn’t seem fair, given that a good number sacrifice their early career to raise children and only wish to take up full-time work once their children are old enough to stand on their own two feet (which, given the cost of education and living, is later and later in life).
So, whether you’re in your late 40s, 50s or 60s and you’ve decided to turn your back on the corporate world, know that you mustn’t lose hope. Your age and your unique experience, knowledge and wisdom are actually your collateral not your liability.
Take a leaf out of some famous people’s cv’s:
- Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
- Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
- Vivienne Westwood put on her first catwalk show at age 40.
- Susan Boyle became a worldwide success after winning Britain’s Got Talent at the age of 47.
- Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.
- Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.
- Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.
Ikigai and Dharma
You were made for greatness and it is your birth-right to live a life of passion, joy, enthusiasm and fulfilment. You are invited to explore what you can share with the world, that special something that lights you up or that gives you a raison-d’être, that something that the world needs and for which you can be paid. This is the Japanese Ikigai concept of your life’s purpose. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering need, a grandiose mission. But it is a mission that fills you with joy and a sense of hope and connection. It can be as simple as offering knitting classes which allow others to explore their creativity, give them a sense of accomplishment and provide community.
In my Midlife Passionpreneur training, we will cover a lot about Dharma. Dharma is a Sankrit term with over sixteen different meanings, but in terms of the Bhagavad Gita* it’s all about seeking our life’s purpose – a purpose that activates the expression of our unique gifts, talents or learnings and uses these in service (for the welfare) of others. In my programme we work to identify and express your true calling by applying an energy releasing and alignment tool. This is a sure way to find out what’s going on with your energy and to help you find the “answers within”.
I also encourage women to commit to experimenting. Sometimes a dharma has to be unravelled, processed, experimented with, and even iterated (changing or evolving over time). But until we start, we will never know. Even if you have to kiss a few frogs on the way, it’s well worth it when you find your prince at the end of the journey. It’s rarely the case, unless you have a blindingly obvious gift or legacy, that you find the one perfect pearl in every shell you come across. And from doing, we get to learn and to BECOME! You can find your greatness! Forget procrastination. Ask yourself the question: “If I were to die next year, what do I really want to leave to the world?”
Moreover, you don’t have to give up your day job to start discovering and practising your dharma. It does however take commitment and dedication – in this instance it’s more a marathon than a sprint. Alternatively, if you go all in and take that leap of faith, it helps speed up the process. Because then you have nothing else left, no escape hatch, you have to make it work, you have to commit your all. Whichever approach you choose, it’s important not to fear the journey.
Releasing the Fear and Surrendering to Greatness
A lot of the work around identifying what’s in you to fulfil is releasing the fear: the fear of the unknown, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of failing. Women often even fight for their limitations, arguing for why a venture or project would fail, why people wouldn’t work with or buy from them. The important part of my coaching is to show you how to surrender and trust yourself. I encourage you let go of the belief that you can’t. I help you open the door to the mystical, the realm of all possibilities, and to the simplest and easiest way to fulfil your dharma.
Are you ready to jump onboard? Book in for a chat www.calendly.com/esther-788/30min – you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
*Bhagavad Gita is an ancient (2nd century BCE) 700-verse Hindu scripture (an excerpt from the epic poem Mahabharata) tracking the conversation between Arjuna, a Pandava prince and warrior, and Krishna – God in human form as his charioteer.
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